Underground River

Underground River: the Independent Creation of the Teachers and Students of the College of Liberal Arts Showing their Great Ambitions like the Roc

On the evening of May 3, adapted from the novel of the same name, the children's drama Underground River premiered at the Concert Hall of Arts Center in Nanhu campus of ZUEL, which was free of charge and attracted many viewers. As a successful drama, its script entirely created by the teachers and students in ZUEL. The original author of the script is Associate Professor Shu Huibo from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication of ZUEL. The script was adapted by ten sophomore girls from Tunan Creative Room of Department of Chinese Language and Literature. The drama was adapted for a total of 34 days, creating a more than two-thousand-word final script, and performed by the Wuhan A Little Gather Troupe. After the premiere, Underground River will also be shown in other theaters in Wuhan.

The Start: Literary Story Enlightens Literature Dream

Underground River was Shu Huibo's new work in 2016, telling a story of a small fish chasing his dream.. Kemi, a small fish, had to leave the hometown moving towards the Yangtze River, because the cocoa lake, his beautiful hometown, was polluted by human beings. He met his better half--Keni in the way and found a big secret about his father in the conversation, which made him more determined to continue his own “Great Ambitions like the Roc”. After overcoming numerous difficulties in the dark dirty river, they finally reached the beautiful Yangtze River. Kemi had achieved his personal growth along the way. In order to protect his hometown and his dear mother, he leaped into the pool, crossed the underground river and finally returned to the cocoa lake. The touching story can be summed up in one sentence that although born to be a small fish, some fish are born to create a miracle and have the dream to fly and ultimately kiss the sky .

Students from the Department of Chinese Language and Literature of ZUEL are like Kemi. They share the same Great Ambitions like the Roc in literature. The teachers from the Department of Chinese Language and Literature of ZUEL Luo Xiaojing, Li Gang, Cai Jun and Zhu Hao were moved by the enthusiasm and sincerity of the students and were willing to be the Boles.

Tunan Creation Room of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature of ZUEL came into being by this opportunity. Ten students were both excited and worried when they learned that the adapted Underground River would be performed by a professional troupe. Since it was the first time for them to adapt a script, they decided to do it as a team. Finally, they agreed to adapt Underground River, the novel of more than 20000 words, into three acts. Ten students served as the main creators, editors, polishers and the coordinators of the play. Hence, they started their journey of the Underground River.

The Journey: Making Every Effort to Create their Own Script

The adaptation of the script is more difficult than they imagined. They must coordinate the time of study with creation so they tried to make full use of their spare time. Another big difficulty was how to use the drama language to vividly express the images in the novel on scene. On March 27, the members of the Tunan Creative Room completed the first draft of Underground River with hard work and sent it to the teachers.Arduous as the task is, the teachers' encouragement gave us a great deal of motivation. We carefully read and think of each teacher's comments, thus the script had been improved. On March 31, the members produced a wonderful final draft which won the teachers' praises. After finishing the final draft, everyone in Tunan Creative Room expressed the feeling from the bottom of their hearts that although it was difficult, they had benefited a lot.

On April 12, Zhu Hao sent a fine picture of stage design and brought good news to the Tunan Creative Room, Our ‘Underground River' will be premiered on May 3 in Art and Sport Center of Nanhu campus.The students immediately got excited, We did not expect it to be ready in such a short time and we are really looking forward to seeing it being staged!

In the following dozen of days, the director, actors, teachers, and students of Underground River discussed in detail about the stage of the scenery, clothing, stage properties, etc. On April 24, Tunan Creative Room began the promotion of the drama. Among them, some students were responsible for the design of posters, invitations, brochures and some students were responsible for network promotion. They were so busy that they often worked until late at night with great excitement. In order to make Underground River known by more people, teachers and students of Tunan Creative Room felt deeply responsible and spared no effort to make it happen.

The Harvest: the Exercise and Accumulation of Literary Creation

On May 3, the premiere was held as scheduled. 80% of the audience is the combination of parents and their children. The children were interested in the ups and downs of the plot itself while parents recalled their innocent and beautiful childhoods. The children clapped their hands when they saw the small fish dancing and screamed when they saw the big black fish preying. In the climax, several children even spontaneously went to the stage and leaned on the stage to watch the show. The vivid physical performances of the actors and the exaggerated sound effects made few children scared to cry by the big black fish.

It was a pleasant surprise that the drama turned out to be a big success, but it was also reasonable. The ultimate success was inseparable from the insistence and hard work of the team in the process from the creation of the script to the adaptation and from the rehearsal to the details of the promotion. What is more exciting is that in the premiere, Shu Huibo, the original author of Underground River was paid 5,000 yuan by A Little Gather Children's Troupe for the adaptation, and he donated this 5,000 Yuan to Tunan Creation Room of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature of ZUEL as the starting funds to support their creations of more outstanding works.

Teachers and students of ZUEL offered a wonderful feast of literature for the literature lovers, which not only got the audience's praises, but also was the exercise and accumulation of literary creation. Starting from Underground River, the creative team of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature of ZUEL presumably will realize their Great Ambitions like the Roc in the future, and bring more literary enjoyments to teachers and students.

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    Jing Chengyi

  • English Editor

    Zhu Yong